OP-ED: Time for more Strategic Citizen Impatience for a Bicycle Master Plan for Penang


Penang has waited long enough, too long I would say, to have a real cycling program, which starts on and will transform the streets to ensure safe and abundant cycling for all ages. As far as I can see (I hope I am wrong) the State government of has not announced strategic program for a cycling renaissance: no comprehensive audit, no specific commitment, no explicit goals, no announced global budget, no open working group, and no timetable or metrics again which success or failure could be judged. Yes, you have some activities and improvements going on here and there– but these are fragmented and there is no overarching MASTER PLAN FOR CYCLING IN PENANG.

 * Eric Britton: Notes from a group discussion on the Sustainable Penang WhatsApp forum of the lack of a structured bicycle plan for Penang, 17 Feb. 2017

How can anyone meaningfully be satisfied with that when the benefits of safe cycling are so apparent? And yet we know very well what to do, including how to sell such programs to the public. All your planners and decision makers need to do is consult the available references. Here are a first handful to get you going:

Also, see today’s entry at http://digg.com/video/netherlands-intersection-design (A film from the Netherlands which looks at one of the more challenging engineering issues that come up everywhere)

To be effective, you have to give highest priori to “transport” or “city cycling”, i.e., safe day-to-day cycling by Penangites of all ages. Cycling for leisure and tourism are OK, but that is not what needs full attention.

Finally, I would like to ask: what is the place of cycling in the States’ SRS “Transport Master Plan” at http://pgmasterplan.penang.gov.my/index.php/en/ .  Let’s have a look and take out their eventual words on this and share and study them here together on this friendly forum. It will be interesting to see how far local government has progressed  in their thinking for and commitment to this low-cost, high-efficiency, profoundly democracy healthy way of getting around in the city. You could if you insisted (and insisted and insisted) have a cycling infrastructure and support plan that would make Penang a model for other smaller cities in Asia. YOUR model.

Be impatient. Ask for a lot. Ask again. And again. Don’t let up. The light is green. Go go go! You got it!

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Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Educated as an international development economist, Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and sustainability activist who has worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, civil society and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities | See Britton online at https://goo.gl/9CJXTh and @ericbritton

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